Every Christmas I create a custom made wooden toy for my great-nephew. This year I decided to create a unique night light using parts from a discarded solar path light. Lawn mowers and snow throwers often mistreat these hidden treasures. Also people are unaware these solar path lights work through recharging a battery. As the battery ages it is unable to recharge to its youthful glory; this is when the homeowner chucks the entire thing to the curb.
When I find these orphans I bring them home and remove all the useful parts: solar panel, circuit board and battery holder. The circuit is simple. With light the solar panel charges the battery, with no light the circuit switches to illuminate a LED by battery power. These are such fun to play with; the technology is so basic yet amazingly complicated. I can spend a good deal of time pointing the solar panel to and fro a light source to watch the light turn on and off.